VICTORY! PETA Pressure Squeezes U.S. Navy to Scrap Gruesome Decompression Tests on Sheep

For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Madison, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin–Madison has canceled gruesome decompression tests on sheep two years before their scheduled completion, a decision that follows PETA’s letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro urging an immediate end to funding this junk science.

In a new letter to Del Toro sent today, PETA urges the Navy to end decompression and oxygen toxicity experiments on any animals at any institutions.

Documents recently obtained by PETA show that the Navy scrapped two separate experiments, which were underway at UW-Madison, in July 2022. In one, a pair of sheep were euthanized after showing “signs of discomfort” following a decompression test with a malfunctioning hyperbaric chamber, according to a UW-Madison internal investigation. A second study, previously set to continue until June 2024, examined survival rates and cardiopulmonary function in sheep subjected to long-term exposure to hyperbaric air. The Navy used $390,000 in taxpayer money to bankroll the tests.

“That sheep will no longer have the life literally squeezed out of them in crude and archaic decompression tests at UW-Madison is cause for celebration,” says PETA Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is now calling on the Navy to prohibit such tests on all animals in favor of superior, human-relevant research.”

The Navy pulled funding for similar testing on sheep at UW-Madison in 2010 after a criminal probe was launched in response to a petition filed by PETA and Alliance for Animals regarding a state law that, at the time, barred the killing of animals by decompression. A court-appointed prosecutor commented, “The Department of the Navy has pulled its grant and the research using sheep has stopped.” After the law was later revised to allow such testing, similar Navy-funded sheep experiments at UW-Madison resumed.

PETA continues to push for the Navy to end decompression tests on all species of animals at all institutions, having recently sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, protested at high-profile military events, and urged nearly 60,000 people to contact top military brass.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind